Admittedly, this was a hard blog to write. And I sat on it for a few days. But I need to say this.
So I’ve been going through kind of a journey of self discovery lately. I’ve been doing that shadow-work everyone talks about. Healing from trauma. Unlearning unhealthy behavior and coping mechanisms. Learning just what it is that matters in this life. And in the last couple of days, I’ve faced some extremely painful truths.
But you know what? As the old saying goes, the truth shall set one free. And to paraphrase the quote heading this blog, it may hurt like hell. But first, let me ask you a question.
What if I was just an ordinary person? What if I never had a viral video, or a bestselling blog or novel? Would I be enough just as your dorky friend and (former) viral wannabe? Would you still love me if I wasn’t Meredith Silverman, Internet Sensation? Heck, would you still love me if I was? Are you saying to yourself right now, Jesus, Meredith, you ARE an ordinary person.
Not in my head, I wasn’t. Or I didn’t want to be. See, I always had this idea I needed to be superhuman, somehow. That I didn’t deserve to breathe the same air as everyone else on the planet unless I was All Productive, All The Time. Or I was Somebody Famous. Recently, I asked my mom and my husband the question I just asked you in the above paragraph.
Do you know what they said? They said, OF COURSE WE WOULD, MEREDITH.
Which was a relief, and a load off my mind. But…
When The Truth Is Painful
I still had some truths to face. See, here’s the deal. I tried to end my life in 2013, but God had other plans for me. I thought, why am I here, then? And I got the idea in my head that I was meant for some big...Thing. And I’ve been terribly afraid that if I didn’t achieve this big Thing (like internet fame, or writing fame) that my life would have no meaning at all. That I’d failed at life somehow. And in my mind, here I am, nearly fifty, trying to “compete” with people half my age, and my time is running out.
“I Reached Out For Love And All That Came Back Was Thirst” – DMX
But it’s a funny thing about fame. Like DMX said, he reached out for love and all that came back was thirst. When people think you’re famous, that’s the only reason they want to be your friend. But as for me, all I ever wanted was love. So I had to sit and look at WHY I wanted to be famous and adored so, so badly. I sat with these feelings. I pulled them out and examined them. Then I started googling articles that might help. And here’s something I came up with that shed some light on my desire for fame:
The desire for fame has its roots in the experience of neglect, in injury. No one would want to be famous who hadn’t also, somewhere in the past, been made to feel extremely insignificant. We sense the need for a great deal of admiring attention when we have been painfully exposed to earlier deprivation. Perhaps one’s parents were hard to impress.
They never noticed one much, they were so busy on other things, focusing on other famous people, unable to have or express kind feelings, or just working too hard. There were no bedtime stories and one’s school reports weren’t the subject of praise and admiration. That’s why one dreams that one day the world will pay attention.
When we’re famous, our parents will have to admire us too (which throws up an insight into one of the great signs of good parenting: that your child has no desire to be famous).On the Desire for Fame, from The School of Life Website. You can read the entire article here.
When I tell you that hit me like a ton of bricks. Holy cow. Because ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be Somebody. Somebody respected. Liked. Looked up to. And do you know why? Because as a child, I felt like exactly the opposite. I was a nobody with a capital N. The part about good parenting in that School of Life article especially got to me. I know my mom tried hard and did the best she could. But whisk in some trauma, the specter of terminal illness, and a host of other family problems…
Seeing The Unseen
I got shunted aside a lot…and felt so unseen as a child. I wasn’t one of those children who got put on a pedestal and adored. Maybe I would have been, except for the fact that my father got sick with life-changing (and possibly, at the time, life ending) cancer when I was nine. From then on his illness and subsequent treatments were the focus of our lives.
Cancer took over. And the radiation treatments changed him. He was angry all the time. And my mom and I think the radiation treatments did something to his brain. Unfortunately, I bore the brunt of his anger and misery, which left deep scars both within my body and my psyche. I endured terrible things. Things no child should ever have to. So I became a master at hiding my emotions. I wasn’t allowed to cry, or to be angry. I stuffed it all. And learned to become invisible.
At the same time, my cousin was also having problems, I guess. She started acting out at ten or eleven out by doing drugs and messing around with boys. All of that wound up with her getting her first abortion at only fourteen years old. So of course it was inevitable she got EVERYONE’S attention, including my mother’s, who felt sorry for her. But after seeing all the trouble SHE got in, I knew I didn’t want to go down the same road.
So, like I said, I faded into the woodwork. And I was a prime target for bullies. Growing up, I felt so invisible, ugly, unloved and unwanted. There was always someone’s needs ahead of mine. And like I said, add that trauma in there to really kick me when I was down. It’s no wonder my first attempt at suicide was at twelve years old. In fact, when that didn’t work, I used to pray for a terminal illness so that people would pay attention to me.
I wasn’t a stellar student, regardless of being “gifted”. To be honest with you all, I was just an ordinary kid, maybe brighter than some, but not bright enough. Who just wanted to be openly adored the way I saw my friends being openly adored by THEIR parents.
Looking back, I realize now that their parents weren’t battling cancer or being a caretaker, as well as trying to deal with other problems in the family. Of course, an adult understands that. But a child does not.
The Next Big Thing
And like I said earlier, I thought my life was spared after the overdose in 2013 to do this Big Thing that I thought I was brought back to do. But that never quite came to pass. I’ve been on Twitter since 2014. Tried blogging on and off. Given content creation a shot on and off. But there was always something in the way.
Plus, the dream of becoming a big deal on social media is a combo of right place/right time, happenstance, and showing up. I saw something on TikTok recently that said if you want to try and make it big, that you have to show up every single day. And to be honest, I don’t have the energy to show up every day. Hell, sometimes I don’t have the energy to even shower every day, much less write and record content for the public consumption.
Becoming a big deal – that was the dream. And now, it’s time to give up that dream. And oh, my God, giving up a dream is painful. But giving up a dream that doesn’t serve me, I believe-no I KNOW-will be a lot less painful in the long run. That is, the dream of being famous, and by famous I mean universally loved and a household name no longer serves me.
Here’s My Extremely Painful Truth
So here’s the painful truth. My painful truth. I had this need and this impossible dream to be famous because both my inner child AND grown ass woman Meredith STILL felt painfully unseen, even after all this time. So I had to sit us BOTH down and talk this out. I had to ask myself some hard questions, like:
Who am I trying to impress? My father who’s been dead for almost 20 years? So he can say, “I’m proud of you?” That doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t need his approval. As for my mom and my husband – well, like my mom said to me this morning, Meredith, I’m impressed with you every single day. You’re alive and you’re thriving. That’s what’s important. My husband feels the same way. Just ask him. Which makes me feel amazing.
Do I have the drive? Frankly, no. Here’s another painful truth. No. I don’t have the drive to show up every day. Plus…oh, and this sucks to admit, but I want it handed to me. And that’s not realistic, nor is it fair to all the REAL content creators who grind and grind and grind and work SO hard because they want it SO bad. That’s not me.
Do I have the time? No. Not really. I spend a LOT of time with my mom. She’s almost eighty years old. We finally have the relationship I always wanted after we had to go through a LOT of tears and heartache while WE healed our own mother-daughter dynamic. I might write about that someday. Meanwhile, I am LIVING for the time I have with her. And I don’t want to regret time NOT spent because I was busy doing other things.
Here’s a painful related truth – even if I HAD the time; all the time in the world – I’m not sure I would keep trying to become some Big Famous Star of the Interwebs. But that’s a bridge I’ll cross when I come to it.
Queen And David Bowie Weren’t Kidding When They Wrote Under Pressure
And finally, I realized that the only one putting all this pressure on me, was me.
So then I had to do something that really, really hurt. Like heart-breaking hurt. After all, they aren’t called painful truths for no reason. I had to face up to the idea that I’m not going to be the next Allie Brosh or Jenna Marbles. That I may not have what it takes to go viral on the internet. I’m surprised I even have the audacity to mention my name on the same page as theirs. And I’m not sure I even want to. That’s a LOT of brilliance and creative energy expended and I can’t get near that. I have a chronic illness. I’m exhausted about 80% of the time. Like I said earlier, sometimes I don’t even have the energy to take a shower.
It’s like…I know how to ice skate, right? And then there’s Quadruple-Axel guy from the Winter Olympics.
See, I want to be Quadruple Axel Guy with none of the training and that’s just not realistic.
Nevertheless, that’s something I held onto for a long, long time. And MAN it hurt to let that go. I’m not ashamed to tell you when I did, I sat down and cried my eyes out. But after that initial rush of heartbreak and sadness I felt…
I can just be Meredith now. Nobody in my house is expecting me to…produce. I mean I produce clean loads of laundry every Laundry Day and they sure appreciate it, but that’s about it. And I’ve learned a few things in during this process.
So What Have We Learned?
Here’s what I’ve learned. Dreams are wonderful, but here’s my reality. I’m about to celebrate my 2nd wedding anniversary. I’m married to the most wonderful man on the planet who thinks I’m amazing just for existing. My mother and I now get along like Dorothy and Sophia. Our relationship is finally healthy and strong. I enjoy keeping my home running smoothly as CEO of Domestic Operations. I LOVE spending time with my family, amusing ourselves MST3King all the reality television that our streaming services can throw at us. Getting to hug my old dog and our two cats every day is PRICELESS and I don’t want to miss a moment.
So if that’s the case, who am I blocking my blessings by holding on to some unachievable fever dream that no longer serves me? And I was thinking this morning that it’s a funny thing about dreams. They can either propel you to greatness or imprison you and make you miserable. I have enough problems; I don’t need any more of my own making.
As of a few days ago, the dream is shattered. And that’s okay, because I’m the one who shattered it.
And in throwing off the last chains of the fame-monster-dream, do I finally step out of the prison of my own making. In making the decision to live in obscurity and no longer force myself to try to Do Something Big, do I finally feel seen. Who sees me? The important ones. Those who matter. My mom. My husband. You, reading this. My friends who know the real me.
Please don’t take this to mean I’m giving up on blogging and making videos on YouTube. I’m still gonna be around. I find writing stuff like this very therapeutic, and speaking my truth even more so. But it’ll be a little different. I’m not going to be pleading with anyone to PLEASE READ AND WATCH MY STUFF. That’s gonna have to happen organically. Because like I said in a Twitter thread I made a few days ago, I dislike self-promotion. Actually, I can’t stand anything that makes me feel…inauthentic. And that’s what calling myself a “content creator” feels like. So I won’t be doing that anymore. I’ll still blog and make videos, but there’s a big difference in the two. And that’s okay.
I’m exhausted of chasing some pipe dream I’m not even willing to work for. That dream is over. Which hurts, but you know what hurt worse? Having this delusion of possible grandeur that I don’t even want anymore. So, instead of choosing an impossible, unattainable dream, I choose an ordinary, but happy, life. As Jenna Marbles said in her final broadcast, “I think I just want to be a person now.”
So do I, Jenna. So do I.
Thanks for reading,
This Post Has 7 Comments
You absolutely DO impress me, too, every single day! I love you more than anyone else and more than anything on this planet! As always, thank you for speaking your truth. You mean the world to me, just by being your authentic self. ❤️❤️❤️
I love you so much. Thank you for inspiring me every single day, and loving me as I am. I’m so lucky to be married to such a wonderful human being, my sweet Matthew. ❤️
This was a great entry into your blog. I can understand some of the feelings you poured out here. I’d totally want to hang out with you and Matthew because you are you.
Awww thank you so much, Kerry! Gotta get that stuff up out of my gut. Hard, but necessary. Matthew and I would be delighted to hang out with you also! (Because you are you.)
I agree with all of this, Kerry!
I see you. I’ve always seen you. I loved the little damaged girl and I love the adult version as well. You will forever be loved by me.
Awwww DD! ❤️ Right back at you madam.